Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Garden Prep

At last!  The rain has paused, the sun is shining, and it's a day I am off.  The planets have aligned, and the garden box has been built.  We are ready for spring and summer!  

This is the "before" photo.  We placed the box here as it's a pretty barren part of the garden.  Loads of digging, buckets of compost, heaps of worm tea, and it still doesn't want to produce.  Last year we grew tomato plants here in soil bags (the soil in there was from those bags!) and it worked out pretty well.  But this year - more soil!  more tomatoes!  more garden!
Last week I found out the city does free weekly compost give aways.  M drove the truck down to the site on Thursday, and filled up the bed with heaps of dark, stinky, wonderful dirt.    After that workout, he came back here and moved the soil to the box, the future strawberry home, and around the garden.  I just need a second to applaud this work.  I live in an in-law studio, so I'm a good football field away from where we park.  I love the privacy, but I silently curse the distance anytime I'm carrying something heavy.  He moved the soil by shoveling it into one of our big green yard waste bins, rolling the bin back, and then up-ending it over the garden box.  Those bins have a "do not load over 200 pounds" warning on them - I imagine he got close to it with this dirt!   I got home from work around 7:30 Thursday night to find him "shattered".  And he still made us dinner.  Salt n Pepper said it well - What a man

I will say that as I arrived home, the smell of the compost hit me halfway down the walk.  It's strong.  

After yoga and coffee this morning (This garden work brought to you by a small Peet's drip coffee!) I started making seedling trays.  The garden box doubled as a great work area!  I filled seedling containers, listened to NPR, and was amused by the neighbors kids playing next door.  

It was a perfect morning, one my dirt hands did not capture on film.  Bees buzzed between the rosemary flowers and the frames of honey that we left for them to rob.  A hummingbird hovered inches from my head and arm, darting to the rosemary flowers and fave bean flowers.  Mia came out to stand on my lap as I pressed seeds into the soil.  Birds chirped from the trees, reminding me to refill their seed.  Fluffy bumblebees buzzed around the fava bean plants.  I couldn't have asked for more.  

I managed to overfill our little greenhouse.  If half of the seeds germinate, we'll be in great shape.  I'm also hoping to get seeds started for Abeille a Miel as well with this push.  Germination for these seeds will be anywhere from five to twenty five days, so we'll know soon enough if the seeds took.  

Germination times:  
carrot  = 14 - 21 days.  
yolo bell peppers = 10 - 25 days.
soy beans, leeks, roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes = 10 - 15 days.
zucchini, lemon cucumbers, straight cucumbers, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes = 5 - 10 days

all square containers have sugar snap peas, all rounds are tomatoes.  

Took a bag of sweet pea seeds that we'd saved two years ago and scattered them about the flower garden patch.  If they take, awesome!  we'll have flowers and nitrogen fixing roots.  If they don't ... compost.  

The fava beans are growing right along.  Thank you bumble bees and hummingbirds!  

(these plants are starting to dominate the garden, so I'm hoping they get to harvest quick!  now we know for the future - tie them up early!!)  
Once all the work was done, I filled the birdseed up, swept the sidewalk and deck, and gave the greenhouse a watering before closing it up.  The kids next door were playing a game of some kind, and then suddenly I heard the oldest one ask in a loud clear voice, What on earth is that smell?    I laughed and cringed at the same time.  Oh man.  We're *that* neighbor!  

Bear with it!  I hope to provide you good tomatoes this summer! 

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